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DOD officials identify error in shipment to Taiwan

by Staff Sgt. Monique Randolph
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

3/26/2008 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The Department of Defense announced today that four non-nuclear ballistic missile nose-cone assembly components were mistakenly shipped to Taiwan in August 2006.

Taiwanese authorities notified the U.S. they had received four nose-cones instead of the four helicopter batteries they initially ordered through the Foreign Military Sales program in August 2006.

The items were originally shipped in March 2005 from F.E. Warren Air Force Base (Wyo.), to the Defense Logistics Agency warehouse at Hill AFB, Utah, said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne in a press conference held March 25 at the Pentagon in conjunction with Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Ryan Henry and Army Lt. Gen. Carter S. Ham, Joint Staff.

"The DOD has initiated an investigation to determine what happened and how. Preliminary information indicates that the shipment took place in response to a foreign military sales order from Taiwan for helicopter batteries. Defense Logistics Agency mistakenly shipped these items instead of the requested batteries. It is our understanding that the shipment was placed in storage upon receipt (in Taiwan)," the Secretary said.

After Taiwanese officials notified the U.S. of the mis-shipped items, the U.S. took action to secure and regain custody of the items within a few hours, said General Ham. The items are now under positive U.S. control at a U.S. base.

The investigation, directed by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, will determine who is accountable throughout the chain of command, said Mr. Henry. Director of Navy Nuclear Propulsion Adm. Kirkland Donald will conduct the investigation with the support of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Secretary Gates has further ordered the secretaries of the Air Force and Navy to conduct a comprehensive review of all policies and procedures, as well as a physical site inventory of all nuclear and nuclear-associated material and equipment across their respective programs.

"Secretary Gates has made it a personal priority to effectively deal with this matter," Mr. Henry said. "The department will determine the facts and take appropriate corrective action regarding this regretful incident."

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